Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
Note: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was reviewed by both John and Dad on different days and originally posted as two separate reviews. We usually do our combined reviews together in one post, so this post has been edited to bring you both reviews on one post.
Father Beer Love Review (April 6, 2007):
North Coast Brewing Co. Fort Bragg, CA.
Beer temp. 52.6 F ABV 9%. Used a tall glass so I could watch for a fall.
Pours dark ruby brown but still clear. Nice brown head that holds well and laces sides pretty well. Pronounced molasses aroma with maybe a touch of anise. Taste yields complex flavors of dark chocolate and coffee (maybe espresso) and incredible smoothness. This is a sweet stout with a lingering black licorice flavor and a distinct smokiness. It is complex and deeply satisfying especially as it warms. The flavors cling to the roof of the mouth and the middle of the tongue. It isn’t quite as smooth as Young’s Oatmeal Stout but the complexity is all hell bent for leather. Started as an 8 and went to a 9 at the end, if it was in a bigger bottle who knows where it would have ended up.
The fact that this is made in the U.S.A. is great. I’ve had some damn good American pours but this is far and away the best. The folks at North Coast Brewing definitely got something right. A definite tip of the glass to you all. Keep it up. Only wish I could find it locally.
Son Beer Love Review (May 14, 2007):
Surprisingly, this beer is actually brewed in California. I looked up the North Coast Brewing Company and it doesn’t look like I’ve tried any of their other beers. If Old Rasputin is any indication of the quality of their work, I need to try some of their other brews, stat.
It’s a deep, rich pour with a lot of aroma jumping out – it may be the most aromatic beer I’ve tried. It smells of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts, along with a hint of alcohol (no wonder – it’s a 9% ABV). The color is near black, though it is actually a dark dark brownish red, and the thick, creamy tan head just taunts you to dive in, though it dissipates rather quickly. It smells unlike any other beer I’ve tried, though I’ve not tried a lot of stouts and don’t necessarily have the best benchmark there. Scratch that, I think I now have the benchmark.
The taste is complex and strong – huge on chocolate and coffee – a perfect beer tandem. It’s a sweet treat that’s not too sweet. I also pick up some black licorice and some roasted, smoky flavors. The mouthfeel is good and smooth.
The aftertaste hangs around your palate for a long while and tastes like rich coffee and earth. This one hangs around longer than any other beer that comes to mind. It’s a wonderful treat. This was the last of a 4 pack and I loved every one of them as if they were my own children. I had tried this beer in the past as well, as I was beginning my beer journey, and didn’t think quite as highly then, when I had a limited beer tasting experience. I actually thought the first time I drank it that it was too bold. The second one got through to me though and since then it’s been gaining momentum. It’s absolutely worth picking up and putting in the rotation.
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Rating: 9 out of 10 (?)
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